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Immensely influential, the remarkable Symphonie fantastique was composed while Hector Berlioz was suffering an intense and unreciprocated passion for the Irish actress Harriet Smithson. Its autobiographical tale describes a young musician’s opium-poisoned nightmares of jealous despair and fatal justice following the murder of his beloved. Berlioz wrote a second movement cornet solo into a subsequent revision of the score, here included as an optional extra. He wed his sweetheart actress but, recuperating in Nice, wrote Le corsaire after the final breakup of their marriage.
Hector Berlioz: Le corsaire, Op. 21
Le corsaire, Op. 21
Hector Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14
I. Reveries: Largo - Passions: Allegro agitato e appassionato assai
II. Un Bal (Valse): Allegro non troppo
III. Scene aux Champs: Adagio
IV. Marche au Supplice: Allegretto non troppo
V. Songe d'une nuit du Sabbat: Larghetto - Allegro
V. Dies irae
V. Ronde du sabbat
V. Dies irae et Ronde du Sabbat (ensemble)
Hector Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14 (version with cornet obbligato)
Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14: II. Un Bal (Valse): Allegro non troppo (version with cornet obbligato)
“Slatkin may not be a celebrated or 'authentic' Berlioz interpreter, but his polished, traditional approach isn't negligible. His reading is somewhat monumental, but not cripplingly slow...and beautifully detailed...excellent playing and recording still gives this disc a respectable place in a crowded market.”
“one of its admirable qualities is the lucidity of playing that responds well to the particular palette of sonorities that Berlioz envisaged...the performance has its merits in precision and in some dramatic explosions, but as a whole tends to run a somewhat literal course rather than being imaginatively brought to life.”
“If this new Berlioz coupling is representative of what the orchestra will be delivering in the future then we can look forward to some fabulous releases...[Slatkin's] in control - of course he is - but he’s just the catalyst and he serves the music admirably. This is a really affectionate, elegant version that utilises all the powers of a modern symphony orchestra in full flight...I struggle to think of a version that offers better playing. An absolute winner.”
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